7. The 19th-Century Era of Cartography. Ukraine through the Lens of Maps and Atlases

The institutionalization and specialization of mapmaking in the 19th century, a century therefore described by different scholars as the era of cartography, converged with theories of scientists and geographers such as Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), George Perkins Marsh (1801–1882), and Carl Ritter (1779–1859) to devise a new conceptual framework about geography and its relation to the human experience and the cosmic.
These new theories affected how maps represented urban and natural landscapes. The contemporary innovations in technology – engraving, lithography, and chromolithography – were synchronized with cartography, with the idea of becoming universally understandable, less expensive, and available on demand.
The turn of the century also defined the geopolitical landscape that prevailed until the outbreak of the First World War. After the defeat of France in 1814, Russia embarked on a massive land expansion campaign and soon became the greatest power in continental Europe.
Following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Ukrainians came to live under either the Russian Empire or the Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire. As estimated by Paul R. Magocsi (Magocsi 2010, p. 323), close to 85% ethnic Ukrainians lived in an area known as Dnieper Ukraine, which comprised the territories under Russian control near the middle course of River Dnipro.
Looking at Ukraine through the lens of the most prominent European travelogs of the 19th century, we find the stories emerging from a region whose economic structure and social life came to be integrated into and simultaneously subject to the Russian Empire. [VC]